Resources/finding the right therapist

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right therapist. In addition to the practical matters such as whether they accept your insurance, whether their office location is convenient for you, and so on, you also need to make sure that your new therapist is someone whom you will feel comfortable working with.

Also, remember that some therapists are better at treating OCD than others. It is important to interview therapists to find out if they know how to do exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy well. Your initial consultation may be done over the phone or in person.

Mental health professionals are also increasingly providing their services via video conferencing (such as Zoom, Skype, etc.), or over the phone, a practice called teletherapy. Find a teletherapy provider in your state.


Whichever way you receive your OCD treatment, remember:

  • You have the right to ask questions. This is your life and mental health!
  • If the therapist is guarded, withholds information, or becomes angry at your requests for information, you should probably look elsewhere.
  • If the therapist appreciates how important a decision this is for you and is open, friendly, and knowledgeable, you may have a gem of a therapist!
  • Your relationship with the therapist is important, especially since they will potentially be asking you to do things that you find uncomfortable as part of your treatment.


Here are some good questions to ask as you consider whether the therapist is a good fit:

  • “What techniques do you use to treat OCD?”
    If the therapist is vague or does not mention cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or exposure and response prevention (ERP), use caution.
  • “Do you use exposure and response prevention to treat OCD?”
    Be cautious of therapists who say they use CBT but won’t be more specific.
  • “What is your training and background in treating OCD?” Training backgrounds and licensing titles for mental health professionals that treat OCD can look different, as described at the beginning of this fact sheet. You might even want to consider seeking a pre-licensed trainee that works directly under the supervision of a specialist. In the end, the important thing is to ask about their familiarity with OCD and treating it following best practices (e.g., with ERP, ACT).


Some positive signs that can help you learn more about a therapist’s training:

  • They are a member of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF)
  • They are a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT)
  • They have attended specialized workshops focused on OCD and its treatment, like the one offered by the IOCDF’s Behavior Therapy Training Institute (BTTI)
  • They have attended the Annual OCD Conference


  • “How much of your practice currently involves anxiety disorders?”
    A good answer would be over 25%.
  • “Do you feel that you have been effective in your treatment of OCD?”
    This should be an unqualified “Yes.”
  • “What is your attitude towards medication in the treatment of OCD?”
    If they are negative about medication, this is a bad sign. While not for everyone, medication can be a very effective treatment for OCD. Learn more about OCD medication and their dosages.
  • “Are you willing to leave your office if needed to do behavior therapy?”
    It is sometimes necessary to go out of the office to do effective ERP, so the answer should be “Yes.”

Search the Resource Directory for a therapist today.

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